Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 158

The parliament of Georgia has approved most of President Eduard Shevardnadze’s choices for cabinet posts, following individual consideration of the nominations submitted by the ruling Union of Georgian Citizens. Former health minister Irakli Menagarishvili becomes foreign minister, evidently as a figurehead to allow Shevardnadze full scope for personally conducting foreign policy. The outgoing minister, seasoned diplomat Alexander Chikvaidze, is being relegated to Greece as ambassador. Deputy minister of internal affairs, Maj. General Kakha Targamadze takes over as minister, replacing Lt. General Shota Kviraya who now heads the newly created Ministry of State Security (until now a state committee). Kviraya told the parliament that the ministry needs a comprehensive overhaul and must also step up the protection of Shevardnadze; Kviraya again implied there were indications of terrorist acts being planned against the president. As internal affairs minister, Kviraya a proved strongly loyal to Shevardnadze suspect officers from his ministry and the State Security Committee after the August 29 assassination attempt against Shevardnadze. The ministers of Economics and of Finance, Vladimir Papava and Davit Lakobidze, retain their posts. In the most controversial appointment, Lt. General Vardiko Nadibaidze is being retained as defense minister. (20) Nadibaidze is closely linked to the Russian military and has publicly disparaged NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, contradicting Shevardnadze’s policy of encouraging Georgia’s participation in PfP. Nadibaidze’s reappointment may well have been imposed on Shevardnadze as part of the understandings with Russia on bilateral military cooperation. Former Tbilisi mayor Niko Lekishvili had been approved earlier as minister of state, a post created in place of that of prime minister, to coordinate the ministers’ work and liaise with the president. The cabinet will serve as a presidential advisory body.

IMF Supporting Uzbekistan’s Reforms.